Creating curriculum in preschool context: focus on qualitative differences in teachers' communication with the youngest children

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


The purpose of this article is to describe and analyze how teachers ways to communicate with children in preschool contribute to conditions for children's learning and development, and thereby to how curriculum is created. The curriculum as concept (Gundem, 1997; Vallberg Roth, 2001) is used both for the policy documents concerning preschool and for what is actually said and done in pedagogical contexts. Central to the preschool educational work is the communication that takes place between teachers and children. Hundeide (2002) describes communication as a dialogic interaction with verbal, non-verbal and physical interaction between adults and children. This means that adults’, in this case teachers, speech and actions are considered dependent on what children express and a sense of caring is created between people who interact (ibid.). Communication can in turn be said to contribute to the shaping of a social structure which, according to Giddens (1984) takes place at different levels of consciousness and whose duration varies. With that as a starting point communication between children and teachers in preschool can be studied as a contribution to the preschool curriculum is created, maintained and changed over time, but also as a contribution to how children's learning conditions here and now can be understood. The underlying data is from an observational study conducted in Swedish preschool where teachers communicate with 1-3 year old children. 4 teachers were shadowed (Czarniawska, 2007) and filmed during their everyday work in preschool. Ethical issues in research in all events are crucial (Research Council, 2002) and especially when it involves people who, like the youngest children, can not make their case or assess potential research impact (Heikkilä & Sahlström, 2003). This has been the subject of specific ethical considerations in this study. Shiers model (2001) for children's participation has in a qualitative analysis inspired the construction and use of analytical concepts. The study's results show qualitative differences in teachers' communication of content and in how they listen into and make use of children's own expressions. Overall, it contributes to a curriculum in which teachers' awareness of and challenge of children's perspectives and opportunities in conjunction with the formulated intentions of the curriculum seems both limiting and expanding. The discussion highlights the findings related to curriculum theory (Evans, 1975, 1982), social theory (Giddens, 1984), and childhood perspectives (Halldén, 2003; Pramling Samuelsson & Asplund Carlsson, 2003).

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2013
EventOMEP 65th World Congress, Shanghai, China -
Duration: 1980-Jan-01 → …


ConferenceOMEP 65th World Congress, Shanghai, China
Period80-01-01 → …

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • Educational Sciences (503)


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